OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs concern about using mortars and heavy weapons on contact line

The mediators appeal to the sides in the strongest possible terms to avoid civilian casualties

Baku. 25 September. REPORT.AZ/ The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France), together with the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, express their serious concerns about Armenian and Azerbaijani forces using mortars and heavy weapons in and around civilian areas, Report informs citing the OSCE press-service.

"The use of such weapons represents an unacceptable escalation in the conflict. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and recognize the casualties on each side of the international border and Line of Contact. We appeal to the sides in the strongest possible terms to avoid civilian casualties. The sides have an obligation under the Geneva Conventions to protect the safety and security of non-combatants", - the statement said.

"We regret that these incidents took place on the eve of the agreed meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers in New York. We expect the Ministers to have a serious discussion on the escalation of violence and the issues surrounding a negotiated settlement. While we are unable to determine with certainty how the violence originated since each side accuses the other, the parties should work towards an OSCE investigation mechanism as discussed between the Presidents", the statement said.

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